Fits and Starts

“Let’s get started.”

It seems odd to say something like that at the age of fifty, but here I am, writing the first entry of my first blog. Milestone birthdays are as good a time as any for embarking on big projects, I guess. For me, it’s a hybrid sense of retrospection and inspiration, of looking back in order to move forward.

That’s the idea behind the “vivid ellipsis.” Something concrete leads to something unknown, something unwritten or unsaid. It’s an invitation for reflection and, to some extent, prediction. It’s someone saying, “If you think back on what was just said, you’ll be able to figure out what’s about to come.” The past informs the future. But for the space of those three dots, the present mystifies.

At fifty, I’m still plenty mystified. It suits me in a way. Perhaps it explains why my life has been a series of fits and starts in all sorts of directions. Here in this blog, I hope to make some attempt at bringing it all together and teasing out the inner wisdom of whatever attracts or distracts me, be it a news story, a new music album, a recently read book, or yesterday’s football game. Along the way, I hope to share some words, music, and images of my own.

Friends and family members will no doubt see themselves here and there, as will people whose momentary acquaintance sparked great transformations in my life. Today, for example, I’m thinking a great deal about my father, who passed away earlier this year. This is my first birthday as an orphan, and it’s felt quite different from anything I had expected. In my adult life, birthdays usually meant a card and a phone call from Dad—nothing much. Even so, the absence this year stuns me.

At the same time, I’m thinking of several of my morning swimming companions from my days back in Manhattan. One of them, C.A., convinced me years ago that I could learn how to do a flip-turn in my middle age. Turns out he was right. The other regulars, Bobby and Jerry, were living proof that even as we got older, we could still get better. So while I practiced my tucks and push-offs, a man in the next lane, Leo, slowly lifted one arm out of the water and reached over his head, pulling himself forward at a fraction of our pace. Well into his seventies, Leo was just learning to swim.

And so it begins. I dive in and take my first few strokes in the world of blogdom. Luckily, I’ve got some good mentors in the neighboring lanes, from C. Dale to Lisa O. to a whole slew of others. It’s all part of this ongoing and glorious conversation we call life, and you can’t put an end point on that. Chris Martin sings “I’d rather be a comma than a full stop” in the new Coldplay song “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.” I wonder if he’s familiar with the ellipsis…

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